Recently, Pinterest announced a new policy prohibiting users from sharing climate misinformation on its platform, making it the rare social platform to ban such content outright.
Marking Climate Misinformation
Pinterest said it will remove content that endorses climate misinformation. The platform denies the existence or impacts of climate change as well as the role of humans in causing climate change. It also plans to take action on false or misleading content about climate change solutions, content misrepresenting scientific data that could erode trust in experts, and harmful false or misleading content about climate change-related public safety emergencies. The platform will also ban ads containing false information or conspiracy theories related to climate change. Repeat offenders of the policy may face further action by the platform, including potential removal of their accounts.
The new policy marks an expansion of the social media platform’s misinformation guidelines. In 2017, Pinterest rolled out a policy prohibiting health misinformation such as anti-vaccine content. It has since expanded the policy to include misinformation and conspiracy theories about elections and other civic activities. “We repeatedly heard from [climate experts] that climate misinformation, like climate denial narratives, is causing real harm,” Pinterest head of policy Sarah Bromma told CNN Business.
Reason Behind Marking Climate Misinformation
The new policy comes as Pinterest tries to combat declining growth in its monthly active user base. Pinterest found its users were increasingly searching for content on the platform related to sustainability, and the company wanted to ensure they were finding accurate information in the results, Bromma said.
As with many content moderation issues, the challenge is often not just setting the policies but enforcing them. Bromma said Pinterest’s teams review content flagged both by automated systems and user reports. The company declined to share details on the size of its enforcement teams. Pinterest also plans to highlight accurate information about climate change through partnerships with creators and experts on the platform.